Monday, September 20, 2010

New Ride

Last fall, I found a Kuwahara Pulsar at a second-hand shop in Butler, Indiana. For $20, I figured if nothing else, I could get some use out of the components, and it would be worth at least that amount.

After I did minimal work to get the bike working again, I found that the bike pulled severely to the left when I rode it. I straightened the fork in my own crude way, but it seems to ride straight, even without hands. These are the old levers from my Trek. I bought some new red cable housing from Velo Orange.

If you try to straighten your own fork with the above method, be sure to align the dropouts so they are parallel and aligned with one-another.

By the way, I had a 20 year-old roll of cotton tape in my tool box. I forgot it takes two rolls to do 1 handlebar. The handlebars above remind me of the Star Trek episode with Frank Gorshin as the half-black, half-white man who can't get along with another guy who is half-white and half-black (on opposing sides). But, I digress.

The bike is now a sweet ride.

The frame is huge, and I have the seat up a little too high. I do have to be careful when I stop as the top tube is dangerously close to making me a candidate for the Vienna Boys Choir. I read somewhere that a good randonneuring frame is larger than what you might buy in your local bike shop. But as big as the bike is, it seems to fit me really well in the riding position.

Also, note the kickstand. I'm going to leave it one the bike. It's nice to be able to stop somewhere and park the bike without finding something to lean it on.

The fork has two sets of eyelets - one set for a front rack, and the other set for fender stays.

The rear dropouts have the same. How can I not put fenders on this bike?

The Sugino double that came with the bike cleaned up very nicely. It looks good on this old bike. Someday I'll get polished aluminum rims for some bling. For the meantime, I'm sharing the wheel set from my Trek so I can just get out and ride it.

Another lovely sunset.

Happy riding.

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Levers

I ordered some new Tektro brake levers and some red brake cable housing from Velo Orange. The Tektro levers are for my Trek 500, the red brake cable housing is for the Kuwahara I picked up last fall.

This is the start of a complex series of component switches from one bike to the next. I'm in the process of slowly upgrading the Trek and using some of those parts to upgrade the Kuwahara. I plan to transfer the brake levers and the bottom bracket from the Trek to the Kuwahara. The Kuwahara's handlebars and levers (gum rubber-covered Dia Compe levers) will be transferred to Alex's old Raleigh Mixte. This whole switch is my cleverly-hatched plan to turn her old mixte into a road bike so she can ride a little faster and a little farther.

The fact I have to sacrifice by installing new stuff on the Trek is something I'm willing to endure.

I put the new levers on the Trek tonight and took it out for a spin.

The aero profile looks pretty sweet, n'est pas?

I'm not sure yet if I like the angle of the levers. I like the ramp angle, but when I put my hands on the levers, I feel really stretched-out. It's not uncomfortable, but it is much different than using my other Shimano levers that originally came with the bike.

La Rueda Tropical has an informative post about handlebars, handlebar angle, and brake lever placement.

I'll take the bike on a long ride on Sunday and see how I feel about it then. As for now, got to get to bed so I can get up early in the morning. We're headed to Purdue University for Parent's Day. This will be the first time in a month Alex and I get to see our darling daughter since we dropped her off there.

Happy riding!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Club Century

The 3RVS (3 Rivers Velo Sport) club held its club century, the Allen County Century today. The route is 100% in Allen County, tracing the outer fringes of the county on the north, east, south and west sides.

Here's the crew on the state line road, about 40 miles into the ride. Everyone still looks pretty happy.

When I go on club rides, I like to help do my share of pulling at the front. This is about the 45 mile mark and the horses are getting antsy. Shortly after I took this photo, the crew, minus Luis and I, pulled away at an awesome 22 mph pace.

We at lunch at the Three Kings Restaurant in Hoagland, about 53 miles into the ride. Notice the old grey Trek, 3rd bike ahead on the left. Sweet Steel!

Several people bailed after lunch and after a short while, it was just 2 Joes, Steve and myself. I rode several miles with the group at a 19 mph pace, but even that was too much for me, so I slowed to around 16 mph and the others rapidly pulled away.

The ride was supposed to be divided into two groups - an 18 - 20 mph group, and a 15 - 17 mile group. Since the 2 Joes and Steve were ably representing the faster group, I wanted to do my best to represent the slower group. Here's me in the 15 - 17 mph peloton.

We ran into rain for much of the way, and I got quite cool at the 75 mile mark. Fortunately the rain stopped for a while at the 80 mile mark. I was a little worried for a while since I rode my bike 14 miles to the starting point, and still had a long way to go. But when the rain broke, my spirits lifted, and I quickly downed several fig bars. I was able to get back to the starting point for the ride in good shape, and rode the final 14 miles without any problems. The total ride ended up at 133.0 miles for me - my second longest ride of the year. I averaged 15.8 mph for the entire ride, so I was quite pleased. Actually, I'm happy to be vertical at the end of a long ride!

Happy riding!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Door County Weekend

Alex and I drove up to Brooke and Anders' (Alex's sister and her husband) house north of Chicago and drove up to Door County Friday night. Saturday was very windy and chilly, so we rode the trails in Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. I forgot to bring the camera along on that ride, so I have no photographic record of that event.

Sunday, however, was different. We woke up to pure blue skies and much less wind. So, we decided to take the ferry over to Washington Island, an island north of Door County. Door County separates the bay of Green Bay from Lake Michigan.

The main road running north-south on the island is nicely paved with very wide shoulders, which were nice for biking.

Ambling up the road, we came across scenes such as this:

And this. Far in the background is the limestone bluff at the end of the Door Peninsula.

We rode 6 miles north and 5 miles east to the northeast corner of the island, and the location of tiny Jackson Harbor.

There was a concession trailer at the harbor, but since they were out of fish guts, we decided to not buy anything:)

Actually, there are several commercial fishing vessels stationed at the island, like these two fine specimens. These are the tools locals use to gather net-fulls of yellow perch, which is almost a delicacy. Just ask anyone from the midwest about yellow perch and watch the drool begin to flow.

There is a very small fishing museum here, and this old VW caught my eye. I couldn't figure out whether this was a part of the fishing museum or not. Perhaps this was the vehicle of choice for yellow perch captains. This beetle had the large round tail lights of the '72 and later, but I don't know exactly which year it is. Does anyone out there want to guess?

The 5 Scandinavian flags honor the legacy of the settlers of this island.

Anders was born in Denmark, so naturally, he had to check out the Danish Mill.

Waiting for the ferry back to Door.

Here it comes...

Since it was sunny, we opted for seats on the roof. You can see the bikers leaving the dock. The Island Clipper is a bike-friendly ferry, and the crew carefully loaded and unloaded our bikes for us.

Departing from the island.

Looking back to Washington Island. We are smack dab in the middle of the Porte Des Morts. Glad this is a calm day.

Looking ahead to the Door Peninsula.

We were fortunate to stay in the same place we stayed last Labor Day. This is the view off of the deck out our back door.

Near sundown, we walked down to the shore to watch the sunset. The land you see across Eagle Harbor is Peninsula State Park. It's a great place to ride a bike, hike, and camp.

Shortly after I took this photo, the sun went behind clouds and we didn't get any other sky colors.

Land (water) of the gulls. I think these were mostly ring-billed, although there are herring gulls in the area too.

We walked down the main drag, past this restaurant, which hosts a daily fish boil. We bought steaks to grill tonight. No fish for us.

We saw a building near the water with graffiti all over it. The community actually promotes it if you use a 1/2" brush or less, and are tasteful.

It was too dark to get a better photo, but it was a fun building to look at and read.

This is the location of the world's best chocolate malt. These modest people who run this store would never make that claim - I am bestowing that title upon them. Ever since Rosie's Diner closed on Calhoun Street in Fort Wayne, it's been my mission to find a chocolate malt to match Rosie's. This is that place. Located in the center of Ephraim, WI, next to the water.

I hope the sun shone on you folks this weekend.

Happy riding!